Monday, January 24, 2011

A Sense of Home

Kiliegh has been struggling in school. I cant help but think that we started her too young. Now, I am considering holding her back a year. Kiliegh had issues in Kindergarten and even in first grade as well as this year. I work with my children. I read with them and we do flash cards. In the summer I get them the Bridge workbooks and we do those together. But Kiliegh has always ended up being behind each year. Her grades are decent but she really has to work very hard at them. She takes a much longer time at comprehending things and homework is always a task. She was in reading recovery each year, including this one. I feel like there are a few contributing factors that go above and beyond her being a preemie. (She was born at 32 weeks gestation)

The first one sounds a bit rude, but the truth is Kiliegh can be a bit lazy, making it hard to tell if she is struggling or just not wanting to do her work. Her bio dad thinks she has ADD and wants me to take her to the doctors. However, he bribed her for thee weeks with a video game and a skate party and she did wonderfully, (go figure!). I told him that bribing her was a horrible idea on his part and explained that all it did was teach her that if she misbehaved and then behaved like she is suppose to, she would in return get stuff. I also told him that the simple fact that she did so well for those three weeks proves that she can control herself. Which would not be the case with ADD. Not that im an expert in that area, but it makes sense to me.

I called the school consular on Monday. She happen to not be in, so I left a message and I am awaiting a call from her. I want them to test her and see if she is where she needs to be compared to other students in her grade and age range. Since this has been an issue to some extent each year I think it would be valuable to the situation if we could see where she "sits" intellectually compared to other students.

She is getting to the age where holding her back is still okay, but it also has potential to really effect her negatively. Again, that's just my opinion, but I feel that if we wait much longer on holding her back, if that;s in fact what we choose to do, then it may be an even harder adjustment for her.

Another contributing factor to Kiliegh's struggles, I think, have to do with our visitation schedule between her bio and I. We have always been pretty civil. Which means that we share Kiliegh nicely. The fact that I can say that we share her, I think is a problem. It's good to get along, especially when children are involved. But, she is a little person. She needs structure and a sense of belonging, not ciaos and a whole bunch of shuffling back and forth.

Right now, our visitation is three days on, three days off. Which looks something like this....

It's not that bad of an arrangement. I don't like going three days without seeing Kiliegh, let alone any additional time lengths. However, it does get confusing. I write it down on my calendar at home and I program it into my phone monthly, but I can never remember which day she is coming and which she is leaving on. I always have to count: Monday she came home, home, home, Thursday she goes back. Most times I have to ask "What day is it today?" or "What day did she come home?" It's hard to adjust to and while it is a normality in our home, we never really have adjusted.

I can only imagine how hard it is for her to adjust. She doesn't really have to worry about when she is coming and going, we just tell her. What she has to remember is school work, different chores, rules, bed time routines and even different friends and families. Below is Kiliegh and Jasmine's visitation and activity schedule combined.

Are you confused yet? This is just the older girls schedule. If you combine Justin's odd work schedule and Vada's doctors, physical therapy and nurse appointments as well as her hospital trips then the calendar fills up even more!

In my opinion, if it is hard for me to keep track of (which it is), how is it effecting Kiliegh? She is more "up rooted" than Jasmine. Jasmine is basically here all of the time (different dad's, different situation). Therefore, I came up with a solution that I don't particularly care for, but that I think will benefit Kiliegh, and that's what counts. Visitations with Kiliegh is a 50/50 deal. We did three days on and three days off because originally when her bio was single he told Justin and I that he couldn't handle more than three days, which was fine, because I didn't want to go any longer without seeing her. However, I now think that it would be best for Kiliegh to remain in one home during the whole school week. I told her bio that I wanted to do a Sunday to Sunday visitation schedule. That way Kiliegh only needs to focus on one house, one set of rules, one bedtime and one set of parents in a particular week. Truthfully, I don't think that she ever had time to just "be at home". She would come to one house, start to adjust to the settings and then have to go back. I really think that this will help. I think that it's what she needed from the beginning of her starting school.

This year is half way over. I am hoping to see some improvements by the end of the year. I am hoping that this will be enough time for her to adjust to see if this is what the major issue is. If there is no improvements then I think she should probably be held back and repeat second grade. For now, we'll just focus on this transition and deal with that when it gets closer.

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